top of page

Video of Dr. Parrish teaching Pilates at the University of North Carolina Greensboro



Pilates is a comprehensive body-conditioning method created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Pilates incorporates six key principles: centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow. I discovered Pilates after an injury while still working as a professional dancer in New York. I studied with first-generation Pilates elder, Romana Kryzanowska, first to heal my injury and then to explore the practice overall. I experienced a complete transformation in my body, increased muscular control, breath support, stamina, improved flexibility, and more fluid extension of my legs and spine. Pilates not only improved my body and sharpened my mind; it also extended my professional performing career.  


In 2013, I rediscovered Pilates and completed comprehensive teacher certification with Balance Body in June 2017. In the process of deepening my knowledge of the Pilates system I renewed my assertions that the system holds significant potential for developing dancers. I am intrigued by the pedagogical questions as to how best to teach the challenging Pilates concepts of disassociation and core stabilization while also looking at motivational, anatomical, somatic cuing for instruction. I am currently researching how best to teach the concepts of (a) disassociation, (b) core stabilization, as well as expressing precision when (c) articulating the spine and (d) placement of the neutral pelvis with two research projects: Zeroing in on Core and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation for Dance Education Pedagogy Research. In the research, I am recording participants experiences within weekly classes using both a Pilates mat and reformer. Once all data has been collected I will begin analyzing and disseminating results. While still in the early stages of this research, I have been awarded five CVPA and university teaching innovation grants (2017-2019) to support this inquiry.  

More investigation is necessary in terms of the creation of developmentally specific pedagogical principles, strategies for layering language acquisition as a foundation for intellectual perception in dance.  In the coming years, I will continue this investigation in Motif Writing, studying the development of movement cognition and applied notations systems for dance making, analysis and documentation. I will continue my investigation in Pilates as a means to meet the needs of dancers focusing on the elements of disassociation and core stabilization. I will present pedagogical research in dance literature and at national and international conference venues.

bottom of page